Category Archives: Late Night TV

An Alternative to “Truthiness”

Yesterday I shared a Carl Sandburg poem about truth, titled, “Who Am I?” Today I would like to explore the poem more deeply as Sandburg grasped intricate dimensions of Truth, describing it as “the most elusive captive in the universe.”

Just how can truth be so elusive and how can it be “elusive” if it is already “captive’d” within our heart?  Sandburg believed that we have intrinsic knowledge of the truth in the depths of our inner most being but we have a fear of acknowledging and embracing this Divine gift. “Truth” is frightening to our ego-bound consciousness because She is a process which is disruptive to our shallow, self-serving grasp of her intricacies.  “Truth” is a dynamic process which is catastrophic to our shallow certainties about life. It is very frightening when She begins to penetrate “the small bright circles of our consciousness” (Conrad Aiken) and challenges the “canned” truth that our ego prefers. Therefore, Truth eludes us though She is already in our heart, a “captive” which usually we do not allow to “come out and play” in our life.  But She is always there, nevertheless, nudging us along and encouraging us to let Her in for a visit someday.

And what did Sandburg have in mind when he asserted that Truth disregards “all signs that read, ‘keep off.’”  He realized that Truth, as opposed to what Stephen Colbert described as “truthiness,” is contrary with the self-serving limits that we have created in our life.  If Truth is given access to our heart, it will always confront “Do not trespass” signs marking the areas of life that we don’t want challenged. T.S. Eliot had this in mind when he encouraged us to “live in the breakage, in the collapse of what was believed in as most certain and therefore the fittest for renunciation.”  Sandburg and Eliot were not discouraging having anchor in our heart that affords us existential courage, but saw that the only “anchor” that survives the test of time is the “certainty” of some “thing” that lies beyond the grasp of our finite mind. This is the very Ground of our Being.  The self-serving bromides that we take for truth will never pass the test that this “Ground” presents to us. And on this note a conclude a witticism from a dear pastor of my youth, “Yes, Truth will set you free.  But it’ll first make you miserable.”

Advertisements

Stephen Colbert Comically Looks at Truth

My last post explored the famous question of Pontius Pilate as he presided over the trial of Jesus, “What is truth?”  In this post I brought emphasis to the profundity of the question and the humility and temerity we need to exercise as we ponder the issue.  But in the Stephen Colbert clip provided here, the ephemerality of truth is more clearly…and wittily…explored than I could ever do with mere use of “words.”  Note the self-referentiality that Colbert utilizes in making this epistemological observation and even his awareness of the narcisstic dimension of the enterprise.  Colbert has “self” awareness to a scary degree, the “scariness” mitigated with his ability to laugh at himself in the very enquiry he is making. This quality that Colbert demonstrates nightly…with the help of his talented writers…is the reason we so often find brilliant social commentary with this show which we do not find elsewhere.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxTDIPi_T-g